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Google threat analysis group terminated thousands of accounts which were linked to a pro-Chinese group that spread disinformation across social media.
According to Google, the group known as Dragonbridge gets new Google Accounts from bulk account sellers, and, in some instances, they’ve even switched to accounts previously used by financially motivated actors repurposed for posting disinformation videos and blogs. Last year, the company took down more than 50,000 accounts used by Dragonbridge across its platforms, including YouTube, Blogger, and AdSense. In total, 100,960 accounts have been shut down since the influence network was first spotted.
“Most Dragonbridge activity is low quality content without a political message, populated across many channels and blogs. However, a small fraction of Dragonbridge accounts also post about current events with messaging that pushes pro-China views,” Google TAG representatives told the media.
“In 2022, the overwhelming majority of Dragonbridge content Google disrupted never reached a real audience. Among the 53,177 channels we disabled in 2022, 58% had zero subscribers and 42% of their videos had zero views. 83% of those videos had fewer than 100 views.”
Despite its lack of engagement from authentic viewers, the pro-Chinese disinformation operation is exhibiting persistence and adaptability.
The group, which has been monitored by Google TAG analysts since 2019, has consistently switched tactics and experimented with new formats and higher-quality content, according to bleepingcomputer.com. This shows that there is still a risk that the group’s activity will eventually land on the radars of real users, which would likely boost the overall impact of its content criticizing the US and pushing pro-China messages.
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